BWW Reviews: SPAMALOT at the National Theatre - You Will Laughalot!

"Make 'em laugh, make 'em laugh". These lyrics sung by Donald O'Connor in "Singin' In the Rain" are apropos for Monty Python's Tony-winning musical SPAMALOT. If what you are looking for in theater is to just sit down, relax, and have talented young actors on stage make you laugh, get a ticket for the final three days of SPAMLOT at Washington's historic National Theatre. You will not regret it.

Yes, I saw the 1975 film it's based on, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". The film was shot in about five weeks with a budget of $400,000. It was financed by the musical groups Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, and such artists as George Harrison and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Horses were initially to be used as the actors rode in the Scottish countryside but due to budget constraints, the actors just skipped through the countryside to the sounds of clapping coconuts.

Yes I saw the incredible original 2005 Broadway cast which included Tim Curry, Hank Azaria, David Hyde Pierce, Sara Ramirez, and Christian Borle. Yes, I saw the first national tour. So I know all the gags, all the lines, I know what's coming and yet...I still laugh and laugh and laugh.

If you haven't seen this funny musical, get thee to The National Theatre this week-end. And if you like, you can the show three times on Saturday: at noon, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. There are even $25 rush tickets available two hours before each show.

There are bad puns like the scene where one yells "alms for the poor" and ...well can you guess?

There are Las Vegas style show girls singing and a Knight yells "What happens in Camelot, stays in Camelot.

Broadway ballads are made fun of quite well in "The Song That Goes Like This".

During the "Black Plague" where bodies are carted off in a wagon, there's one body who insists "I Am Not Dead Yet".

There's the classic song stolen from "The Life of Brian" "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" which is also used as a coda at the end in a sing-a-long with the standing-room only audience.

There is the clever (but maybe not clever for all) song "You Won't Succeed on Broadway" unless you have Jews (and a giant Star of David).

My favorite may be the beautiful "I'm All Alone" sung by King Arthur with his side-kick Patsy right beside him.

And finally, the song I cannot still get out of my head, "His Name is Lancelot" (think Peter Allen and THE BOY FROM OZ).

Credit the book and lyrics by Monty Python writer Eric Idle who along with John Du Prez wrote the lovely melodies like "His Name is Lancelot..." got to stop singing!

This incredible cast deserved the standing ovation it received. Arthur Rowan personifies King Arthur. Playing his side-kick Patsy is the marvelous Glen Giron. Ensemble member Melissa Chaty played "The Lady of the Lake". Other stand-outs are Adam Grabau as Sir Lancelot (and other roles), Kasidy Devlin as Sir Robin, and Joshua Taylor Hamilton as Sir Dennis Galahad.

Then there is the incredible ensemble who give the evening every ounce of energy they have.

There are so many quick changes that the backstage crew should take a bow.

You will also see some homage paid to Broadway. Look for parodies to Andrew Lloyd Webber, THE BOY FROM OZ, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, WEST SIDE STORY, COMPANY, and MAN OF LA MANCHA.

I was surprised to see only six in the orchestra pit and they were all wonderful: Conductor/Keyboard - Emily Croom, Associate Conductor/Keyboard II - Patrick Burns, John Replogle and emma Stanley on Trumpet, Alex Jeun on Trombone, and Bonnie Shappell on French Horn. There was no percussion but you certainly heard the drums!!

SPAMALOT plays until Sunday, April 14, 2013 at The National Theatre. For tickets, call 800-745-3000.

His name is Lancelot....can't stop singing it.


This Saturday night, April 13, 2013, on Marland Public Television at 9 p.m.,take a behind the scenes look at how Green Day's Grammy Winning pop opera AMERICAN IDIOT was turned into a Broadway show. Featured will be interviews with Director Michael Mayer and the cast of the national touring produciton.

Repeats will be April 15 at 10 p.m. and April 16 at 11 p.m.

AMERICAN IDIOT plays Baltimore's Hippodrome Theatre May 7-12, 2013. Visit

Dinner Suggestion For National Theatre

For a convenient restaurant a block from SPAMALOT try Finemondo, 1319 F. Street NW, Washington, DC 20004. 202-737-3100. It's a lovely Italian restaurant and so convenient to the theater. Plus, they feature valet parking for only $8. You can leave your car before the show and have dinner, and they'll have your car waiting for you after the show. Try their shrimp fra diavolo.

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From This Author Charles Shubow